Ultimate Fighting Championship (UFC) is ready to stage its next pay-per-view (PPV) offering as UFC 237 goes down TONIGHT (Sat., May 11, 2019) from inside Jeunesse Arena in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, featuring a women’s Strawweight title fight as division champion Rose Namajunas defends her belt against Brazilian ace Jessica Andrade. In the co-main event, Anderson Silva looks to get back in the win column when he faces off against Jared Cannonier.
Rose Namajunas did the unthinkable and took down Joanna Jedrzejczyk, the former women’s Strawweight champion who seemed to be destined to go on a record-setting title defense streak similar to that of Demetrious Johnson’s. But not only did “Thug Rose” dethrone her and stop her momentum at five-straight defenses, handing her the first-ever loss in her pro mixed martial arts (MMA) career by knocking her out in the very first round, she defeated her again five months later in a five-round war. In turn, she erased any and all doubt as to who the best female strawweight in the world truly was.
Now, Rose will look for her second straight title defense against the hard-hitting Jessica Andrade. “Bate Estaca,” interestingly enough, came up short in her first-ever bid to win the strap a few years ago against the aforementioned Joanna. But we can throw MMA math out the window because styles make fights, and Jessica’s style can pose some problems for Rose. Indeed, as we’ve seen in her last few outings, Andrade likes to start off strong, aggressive and always wants to be first to the punch. That strategy worked out well for her in her previous fight against Karolina Kowalkiewicz, as she channeled her inner-Wanderlei Silva and unleashed a barrage of vicious strikes on the Polish-born fighter to score a vicious first-round knockout win (see it again here).
And that’s what Namajunas has to watch out for, as not only is Jessica aggressive, but she hits like a truck. In this case, I’d say Rose’s best bet is to take the fight to the ground because if Andrade clips her and smells blood, it could be the end of Namajunas’ title reign. And let’s not forget Jessica will have the hometown energy behind her.
Let me start off by saying right off the bat that I do think Cannonier is a talented fighter who has a bright future in the sport, possessing the skills to pay the bills. Also, I’m happy for him that he gets a huge opportunity against one of the greatest fighters to ever step into the cage in Anderson Silva. But, I have to admit this booking caught me off guard. “The Spider” is definitely on the last leg of his combat tour at age 44, so I would have expected UFC matchmakers to give him “fun” or “legendary” fights moving forward.
No, I didn’t expect him to get another young, fast-rising star like Israel Adesanya, but give him another long-time veteran who perhaps isn’t in the title picture. A rematch against Nick Diaz would’ve been nice, or maybe even a trilogy fight against Chris Weidman. Again, it’s nothing against Cannonier, but I would I’ve preferred to see Silva use up the final fights of his current UFC deal taking care of old grudges.
Original Card Vs. Actual Card:
Jessica Rose-Clark was all set to face Talita Bernardo at this event before an injury forced her to the sidelines. In Clark’s place, newcomer Viviane Araujo got the call up. Said Nurmagomedov was gunning for win number three inside the Octagon, but an injury forced him out of his fight against Raoni Barcelos and he was ultimately replaced by newcomer Carlos Huachin.
Aside from the aforementioned injuries above, a fight between Carlos Diego Ferreira and Francisco Trinaldo, which was set to go down on the main card, was canceled just one day from fight night after Diego had to bow out because of kidney stones. On a side note, Bethe Correia came in five pounds heavy for her Bantamweight showdown against Irene Aldana. The fight will still go on, though Correia will now be a little lighter in the pockets as Aldana is now entitled to a percentage her opponent’s fight purse. So much for Bethe’s great comeback.
Luana Carolina — a “Dana White’s Tuesday Night Contenders Series” (DWTNCS) alum — will put her five-fight win streak on the line when she faces Priscilla Cachoeiea, who hasn’t had the best of runs so far inside the Octagon, losing her previous two including a one-sided beatdown courtesy of Valentina Shevchenko.
Carlos Huachin will look to pump some new blood into the 135-pound division when he faces Raoni Baracelos, who’s undefeated (2-0) so far inside the eight-sided cage. Both of these men have well-rounded skill sets and are eager to make names for themselves in a division that’s getting more and more crowded by the minute. Also, Viviane Araujo, who has won three in a row, will look to make a splash in her first-ever UFC fight when she takes on Talita Bernardo, who is 1-2 in her UFC career.
To get a more detailed look and breakdown of all of the “New Blood” click here.
How The ‘Prelims’ Look:
We have some very interesting fights taking place on the undercard, starting with the headlining bout between Antonio Rogerio Nogueira and Ryan Spann. Having competed for nearly 20 years as a professional, “Lil Nog” is still chugging along and looks to score his first two-fight win streak since 2013. While he won’t be getting into the championship mix anytime soon, Nogueira wants to keep fighting and shows no sings of slowing down. In his way is up-and-coming contender Ryan Spann, winner of five straight. Spann made the most of his Octagon debut in Sept. 2018 by outlasting Luis Henrique Barbosa de Oliveira.
Since becoming the first and only man to defeat Colby Covington in 2015, Warlley Alves has been unable to gain much traction, losing three of five since. Indeed, Alves kind of fell by the wayside and hasn’t even come close to enjoying the success “Chaos” has enjoyed to date. He will look to get back on track when he faces fellow welterweight Sergio Moraes. Like Alves, Moraes has a few good wins on his resume such as Neil Magny and Tim Means, but he has been unable to string enough good consecutive wins to get over the hump. This should be a good match up between two hungry welterweights.
And of course, former UFC Welterweight and Lightweight champion B.J. Penn will face Clay Guida in a fight that simply doesn’t make sense. I mean, it’s buried on the “Prelims” undercard. Five years ago, this fight would’ve probably meant something, but at this point it simply looks like a squash match. And that’s tough for me to say since I’ve always been a Penn fan, but he should’ve stopped fighting a long time ago. I mean, it’s not like Guida is at the top of his game anymore, either, but he is still younger (though not by much), stronger and faster than “Prodigy.”
Who Needs A Win Badly:
Yes, we’re going to continue to talk about Penn. The living legend -- no amount of losses will change that — hasn’t won a fight since 2010. That’s almost a decade of fighting and not scoring a “W.” Penn has lost six in a row and eight of 10 overall since April 2010. His lone win during that time was against Matt Hughes. In his last outing, Penn was submitted by Ryan Hall in the first round without barely breaking a sweat.
Sure, losing to Nick Diaz, Frankie Edgar and Rory MacDonald is nothing to hang one’s head low over, but at some point you have to ask when enough is enough. Frankly, I am surprised UFC has continued to give Penn fights. It’s tough to see a big name and legend of the sport keep losing, and if Guida hands him his seventh straight defeat (Bob Sapp territory), it should be time to hang them up for “Prodigy.” Look, I wouldn't want someone to burst into my office and tell me to stop my writing career, but this is fighting, and when you are risking your health and getting worked over physically, considering a career change isn’t the worst of ideas.
Interest Level: 7/10
This is actually a very interesting card, though I am not too sure it will do any better than UFC 236 at the box office (it was a train wreck). The fight I’m perhaps looking forward to the most is a Featherweight showdown between former division champion Jose Aldo taking on surging contender Alexander Volkanovski. “The Great” hasn’t lost in six years, winning 16 straights fights including six inside the Octagon. His knockout win over Chad Mendes at UFC 232 was his coming out party, showing everyone at 145 pounds that there was a new contender in town. A win over Aldo puts him on the short list for a title fight against Max Holloway, though his persuading skills will have to top those of Frankie Edgar’s. But, if Volkanovski can get a decisive win over Aldo, he won’t have to do much talking, as he should be next in line for a shot at the strap.
Aldo, meanwhile, has won two straight after getting beatdown by Holloway in back-to-back fights. With his career winding down, Aldo is looking for perhaps one final run at the strap if he can get one over Volkanovski. The only problem is that Holloway smoked Aldo twice already, so I don’t think UFC will be in a hurry to try and promote that trilogy fight. Still, before any of those conversations or scenarios present themselves, we should be in for a hell of a fight between these two talented 145 pounders.
Full UFC 237 Fight Card:
UFC 237 PPV Main Event:
115 lbs.: UFC Strawweight Champion Rose Namajunas vs. Jessica Andrade
UFC 237 PPV Main Card on ESPN+ (10 p.m. ET):
185 lbs.: Anderson Silva vs. Jared Cannonier
145 lbs.: Jose Aldo vs. Alex Volkanovski
170 lbs.: Thiago Alves vs. Laureano Staropoli
155 lbs.: Diego Ferreira vs. Francisco Trinaldo — SCRATCHED (full story here)
135 lbs.: Irene Aldana vs. Bethe Correia
UFC 237 Prelims on ESPN (8 p.m. ET):
205 lbs.: Antonio Rogerio Nogueira vs. Ryan Spann
155 lbs.: Kurt Holobaugh vs. Thiago Moises
170 lbs.: Warlley Alves vs. Sergio Moraes
155 lbs.: Clay Guida vs. B.J. Penn
UFC 237 Prelims on Fight Pass (6:30 p.m. ET):
135 lbs.: Luana Carolina vs. Priscila Cachoeira
135 lbs.: Raoni Barcelos vs. Carlos Quiroz
135 lbs.: Talita Bernardo vs. Viviane Araujo
*Fight card, bout order and the amount of matches subject to change.
Remember that MMAmania.com will deliver LIVE round-by-round, blow-by-blow coverage of the entire UFC 237 fight card this weekend, starting with the Fight Pass “Prelims” matches online, which are scheduled to begin at 6:30 p.m. ET, then the remaining undercard balance on ESPN at 8 p.m. ET, before the PPV main card start time at 10 p.m. ET on ESPN+.
To check out the latest and greatest UFC 237: “Namajunas vs. Andrade” news and notes be sure to hit up our comprehensive event archive right here.